Léa Seydoux: back on her rich year 2021, from Deception to James Bond

Released this Wednesday, December 29 in our theaters, “Tromperie” concludes the beautiful year 2021 of Léa Seydoux, who will have seen her explore different universes, from James Bond to Arnaud Desplechin via Wes Anderson.

The pandemic also having impacted the world of cinema, with filming stoppages and theatrical closures, many films scheduled for 2020 were released in 2021. And certain actors were thus omnipresent, such as Benedict Cumberbatch on the Anglo-Saxon side. Or Pierre Niney in France. Without forgetting Léa Seydoux, seen in the poster of four feature films.

Three of which should have been released last year, because shot before the first confinement, as the actress specifies in an interview given to Inrocks at the end of the year 2021. An exercise that will have seen her oscillate between world blockbuster and auteur films in French and English, make her debut with Bruno Dumont or find Arnaud Desplechin with Tromperie.

While this very beautiful film adapted from the novel by Philip Roth is released in our theaters, a look back at the year 2021 of its main actress.



The pact

Released December 29

His 2020 films having been postponed, Léa Seydoux’s last appearance on the big screen therefore dates back to August 2019 and the release of Roubaix, a light. Already under the leadership ofArnaud Desplechin, who immediately appealed to her again to Deception, his adaptation of the homonymous novel by Philip roth, in which she gives the reply to Denis Podalydès, alter ego of the American writer.

In this film divided into chapters, Léa Seydoux plays the main character’s “English lover”. One of the women of the latter’s life. If she is not present in all segments, hers are among the most memorable. Thanks to his sensuality, his alchemy with Denis Podalydès (however not very obvious on paper) and his way of seizing the words of Philip Roth under the gaze of a Desplechin whose staging is full of energy.

The filmmaker here concretizes a long-standing project, the beginnings of which can already be found in the bonus DVDs of Kings & Reine with Emmanuelle Devos (present in the film’s cast). Encouraged by Philip Roth himself, he first thought of a theatrical version worn by Denis Podalydès, and everything changed during the confinement: “Something in me has unblocked”, he explains in the file Press. “I was locked away like Philip’s character in his office. I was very happy to work as a recluse. And the character’s desire for freedom took on a whole new resonance.”


The Walt Disney Pictures

Released October 27

Like Tromperie with Arnaud Desplechin, The French Dispatch marks Léa Seydoux’s second collaboration with Wes Anderson, after The Grand Budapest Hotel. The American director brings together, once again, a plethora of cast for this feature film shot in France. And the actress is among the first to appear, naked as a worm and in black and white.

At the heart of the first of the three segments of The French Dispatch, Léa Seydoux plays Simone, a prison guard who plays the models for one of the prisoners, to whom Benicio del Toro lends his features. A relatively short role in this film with choral sketches, but long enough to remind us of the talents of director of actors of Wes Anderson, and the ease of the actress to evolve in his universe.

As she underlines in an interview given to Inrocks, in their latest issue, the two consecutive films by Léa Seydoux which arrive in our theaters oppose two ways of playing. Because where Tromperie relies heavily on the text, his role in The French Dispatch is based on very little dialogue and, combined with the black and white photo of its segment, refers to silent cinema.


Universal Pictures International France

Released October 6

Another story of comeback and second try. Already present in 007 Specter, Léa Seydoux is the first James Bond Girl in the history of the saga to chain two consecutive episodes. And in the same role: that of Madeleine Swann, for whom the British secret agent was ready to put the tuxedo in the closet for her at the end of the previous opus. Until their respective pasts catch up with them.

After having concentrated many of the criticisms leveled against 007 Specter, Léa Seydoux was again not unanimous. But it is clear that his character is better written and that, without reaching the one he had with Eva Green in Casino Royale, his alchemy with Daniel Craig is a bit more tangible. With a central role in the last Bondian chapter of the comedian, which allows him to bring out the humanity and the flaws that have made the success of his version of the character since 2006.

First big blockbuster postponed at the time of the pandemic (perhaps because, as Léa Seydoux recalls in Les Inrocks, its plot against a backdrop of a deadly virus was too close to what we were living), Dying can wait loops the loop in style and emotion. Until the arrival of the Spider-Man No Way Home tidal wave, it was even the biggest hit of the year in France, and the highest grossing American film in the world. Goodbyes therefore successful.


ARP Selection

Released on August 25

This time it is a first. Because Léa Seydoux had never filmed under the direction of Bruno Dumont, little used to directing stars until Camille Claudel, 1915, led by Juliette Binoche. With France, the director of Ma Loute attacks the media world. But not only. Because as the (brief) synopsis sums it up very well, the feature film is also the portrait of a woman, journalist, and that of a country.

It is not by chance that the main character is called France. Any resemblance to situations that have taken place is therefore not innocent, and Bruno Dumont even had fun, in these media that he jeers at, to maintain the vagueness of the conditions of Emmanuel Macron’s participation in a conference scene. release, actually shot with archive footage.

As is often the case with him, the characters are not very friendly and France De Meurs is no exception. And if the film, its tone and its words have thrown off more than one, we end up taking affection for this journalist, when the distress can be read in her eyes. Perhaps because the search for meaning, one of the central subjects of this feature film in which Léa Seydoux reveals to have given everything, has taken on much more importance among viewers since the first confinement.

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